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Donít Miss the Kingfisher!

Lift your gaze

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To encourage us to consider our positive and negative viewpoints on life.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


  1. I have two friends whom I enjoy joining for a country walk now and again, but I’ve noticed that they have quite different approaches. One of them always looks around as we walk, taking in the scenery, the skyline and the activity in the fields. By contrast, the other one is always looking down, carefully avoiding rocks, uneven paths and muddy puddles.

    Every now and then, the first will shout, ‘Look! There! It’s a kingfisher/buzzard/rabbit!’ My other friend will hastily look up and glance around, but more often than not, we hear the response, ‘Oh no! I’ve missed it.’ It happens time after time.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with taking care when out walking. It’s so easy to stumble or trip if we don’t pay attention to what’s on the path. In fact, the first friend I mentioned often returns home with muddier boots and occasionally stumbles or even falls on our walks. However, they always see the kingfisher. My second friend rarely does, and sometimes gets frustrated about it. There’s a lot that they are missing.

  3. In the Bible, there is a letter that Saint Paul wrote to a community of Christians who lived in a city called Colossae. Paul probably never met these people, but he understood that they needed some encouragement. He advised them to focus on Jesus in heaven rather than on their daily circumstances on earth (Colossians 3.1-2). This is because Christians believe that Jesus has the power to act in a positive way in people’s daily lives. Paul advised the Colossian believers to look up rather than down. It would help them to adopt a positive attitude to their circumstances, knowing that they had Jesus on their side.

Time for reflection

Having a grasp of our personal circumstances, the stresses and strains on us, and the pressures that we feel isn’t a bad thing. It’s also not a bad idea to look ahead for obstacles and concern ourselves with potential issues that we may encounter. We need to be prepared for all eventualities . . . but sometimes, taking such a cautious approach could mean that we miss seeing the kingfisher!

One solution for our two walkers might be to stop at regular intervals so that they can take in their surroundings. They might assess the path ahead and take out their walking poles to give them a little more security. They might decide to slow down a little rather than blithely ploughing ahead. They might simply absorb their surroundings, listening for rustlings in the hedgerows and watching for the flash of a small bird or animal.

It can be easy to become bogged down in the potential difficulties of life. Nobody has a smooth run all the time and we need to be aware of that. However, dwelling on this can have a discouraging effect on us. If we’re too focused on avoiding problems, we might not notice the good things around us: the opportunities, the pleasures, the flashes of colour. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to stop and take stock of our surroundings. We may catch a glimpse of the kingfisher.


‘Lifted’ by Lighthouse Family, available at: (4.15 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. Invite the students to close their eyes and consider the day or week ahead of them. Suggest that they make a mental note of the potential stress points that lie ahead. Then, encourage them to make a mental note of everything that they’re looking forward to. Suggest that they use the second list to help them through the first list.
Publication date: June 2022   (Vol.24 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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